Banter Quick Tips: The stretchy-sound trick: How I teach beginners to read their first words

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Once a student has learned their first letter-sound links, I step up to words straight away. The whole point of reading is to read words!

To keep things simple, I start with real three-letter, Consonant-Vowel-Consonant words made up of letter-sounds we’ve practised together. 

I avoid words with letters that students have yet to learn. I also avoid low-frequency letter-sound links.

One trick that helps my students, is to choose words that start with stretchy sounds (continuants) – sounds that can be held for as long as you have breath, like /m, s, n, h, f, l, r, z/.

They’re easier to blend for beginners than words starting with ‘stops’ like /p, b, t, d, k, and g/.

To consolidate early word reading skills, I also get my students to listen to the words and to ‘write’ them letter by letter, either by hand, or using magnetic letters (particularly for beginners).   

To see exactly what I mean, check out my free Early Sound Blending Resource.

If you find it helpful, please let us know!

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Man wearing glasses and a suit, standing in front of a bay

Hi there, I’m David Kinnane.

Principal Speech Pathologist, Banter Speech & Language

Our talented team of certified practising speech pathologists provide unhurried, personalised and evidence-based speech pathology care to children and adults in the Inner West of Sydney and beyond, both in our clinic and via telehealth.

David Kinnane
Speech-Language Pathologist. Lawyer. Father. Reader. Writer. Speaker.

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